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Walk Among the Tombstones, A (DQ)

5/10

Stars: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour, Boyd Holbrook, Adam David Thompson, Brian ¬ďAstro" Bradley, Sebastian Roche, Mark Consuelos, Olafur Darri Olafsson

Director: Scott Frank

Private-eye thrillers are thin on the ground these days, so it's a pity that this one is so poorly paced, and hasn't enough plot to sustain its lengthy runtime.

Its major asset, of course, is Neeson (who could look tough in a dress), as novelist Lawrence Black's famous detective Matt Scudder (unseen in films for nigh on 30 years), an alcoholic police officer who leaves the force after accidentally shooting a child while apprehending homicidal robbers, and 'goes private', taking cases of those who seriously need help.

He's inclined to turn down drug dealer Kenny Kristo (Stevens), who wants vengeance on the men who kidnapped, then killed his wife after the ransom was paid. But when Scudder learns that the kidnappers have perpetrated other horrendous crimes, chopping up the bodies of their victims, he changes his mind, and enlists street kid TJ (Bradley) to help him.

Interludes with the kid, who isn't particularly good, and has zero chemistry with Neeson, slow down a film that needs to tell its core plot in more concise and atmospheric fashion.

All of the other performances, though, are pretty much on the mark, especially Stevens as the dealer and Harbour as the more sadistic of the two kidnappers.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Technicolor.
114 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 21 Sep 2014